Father Eugene Hemrick

During his public life, what kept Christ’s character firm against those who were continuously aiming to bring him down?

I believe the answer requires a closer look at the times when Christ sought out solitude.

Today we live in an age that is forever vying for control of our thoughts and actions, to crack our independence.

Commentators are endeavoring constantly to sway our minds. Public figures employ the best methods of persuasion to entice us to take their side. Laws that govern our life are forever increasing; some are good, some not so good and some confusing. It as if we are in a turbulent sea pounding us into insensibility.

We tell ourselves we have a mind of our own. If, however, we examine what is controlling us, we must admit the bombardment of outside influences is often dominant, making us realize the human spirit is much weaker than we believe.


“Solitude” is defined as being alone with myself. It is does not suggest we enter a monastery, flee the world or envision the environment destroying our humanity.

Solitude’s main object is that we become conscious of our center. Put another way, it invites us to be aware of our soul’s unity, of the strength of our interior life and how it is reacting to those things that impinge on our character.

It means examining myself on how well I am accepting responsibility for my destiny and directing it.

Do I let others dictate what I should be responsible for, or do I take full responsibility for the matter? Do I stand up and unflinchingly address the matter at hand? Do I possess a sense of ascetism that asks, “How strong am I in putting aside my needs and desires to act freely for what is right and true?”

Put simply, solitude is an opportunity to reflect on the solidness of our character. Are we in sync and in union with our conscience, its sense of responsibility and what it requires?

One way to view Christ’s public life is to see that there are always people sniping at him, demeaning his prominence and trying to bring him down to their level.

So too in our times this same sniping exists. Often it is the result of envy that poisons the mind. We can hear the naysayers comment, “Isn’t he the son of a carpenter?” In other words, “Where does the son of a carpenter get the right to preach to us?”

Avoiding this pettiness requires strong true-to-being character founded on solitude that enables us to hold tight of our center and our soul. As Christ frequently prayed in solitude to his Father, so are we prompted to follow this practice.

We live in an environment filled with controlling machinations like never before. A day does not pass in which we are not bombarded by people who are trying to take supremacy over us.

Our times are challenging us to make a choice: Do we allow this to happen and become a cog in their machinations, or do we turn to the solitude of Christ who navigates us to a calm secluded harbor?